Grilled Boneless Turkey Breast with Mango and Pepper Salsa

August 28, 2010

I’ve been watching this ATK episode over-and-over for months. Finally, Turkey Breast went on sale for just 88-cents a pound.  De-boned, I used kitchen twine to tie the two breast halves together to form a roll, then grilled it over a charcoal fire. The well-balanced Mango and Pepper Salsa makes up for the lack of traditional gravy.  Absolutely delicious: 4-1/2 stars.

So, I was very surprised that this 4-1/2 star dinner would end up being a complete failure. Why? I planned for a 7:15 dinnertime based upon the recipe’s cooking time, but at 7:15 the turkey’s internal temperature was just 95-degrees. At 8 PM, the boys could wait no longer and they ate leftovers and some bread. (Turkey’s temperature was improving to 125-degrees). Finally, I abandoned the recipe, pulled it off the grill and stuck it a 325-degree oven. At 9 PM, I had a delicious (but lonely) meal of perfectly cooked turkey breast.

My best "midnight snack" of all time.

Recipe for Grilled Boneless Turkey Breast is here. The recipe for Mango and Pepper Salsa is here.  First, remove the skin in one piece, which will be use it to wrap the breast. Remove the breasts from the bone and sprinkle with kosher salt. Lay one breast on top of the other (tapered end on-top of thick end) to form an even roll. Tie lengthwise with kitchen twine, then tie crosswise at 1-inch intervals. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for 1 hour. Soak some wood chips and start a full chimney starter of charcoal, when ready put all one on side of grill. Rub roast with oil and salt, then put on cool side of the grill. Cook until roast reaches 150-degrees (supposedly 45-to-60 minutes), at which point you switch to hot side and toast until reaches 165-degrees.  I had to finish my roast in a 325-degree oven, because the turkey’s exterior was fully toasted and the internal temperature was still only 140-degrees. Turkey breast must be cooked until it reaches an internal temperature of 165-degrees.


  1. I am unsure why the cooking time was so far off.  The recipe wasn’t clear exactly how close to the coals the roast was intended to be placed. I started it off perhaps 8 inches away, but move it closer after I saw the internal temperature of 95-degrees. Still, placing it closer would have roasted the exterior faster, not the interior. My grill vents were about half-way open; pretty standard.
  2. The string that ran lengthwise didn’t really help. The slippery turkey just kept sliding around.
  3. The bottom of the recipe shows how to tie a butcher’s knot, which I didn’t notice at the time. Next time I’ll give it a try, as it would have helped me use fewer strings to get a perfectly round roast.
  4. My “turkey breast” came with wings, neck, back, giblets. I cooked the wings together with the roast (which also came out fantastic) and ended up discarding about 2-1/2 pounds. What a dirty trick by the farm; if I wanted the whole turkey I wouldn’t have bough something labeled “Turkey Breast”.
  5. The recipe for this Salsa was difficult to find. Usually it would have been listed under the “related recipe” section for the turkey, but this one was not. Also the exact measurements weren’t given on the ATK episode. I finally found it by searching on a list of all the ingredients. Again, the recipe for Mango and Pepper Salsa is here.
  6. I couldn’t find pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds which are toasted) in my newly re-decorated supermarket. I ended up substituting pine nuts, which were much too mild. I didn’t even notice that they were there.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $12.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Started: 5:15 PM.  Ready:  9 PM. 😦

Mango and pepper salsa added great flavor.

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